Friday, February 29, 2008

How much money did the Lincoln Club give Cheryl Cox?

San Diego's Hillary?

The San Diego Union Tribune wrote about power couple Cheryl and Greg Cox on
January 1, 2007.

It would seem that Cheryl nourished her husband's political goals while holding her own considerable political ambitions in abeyance for a few years, much like Hillary Clinton.

But the Cox's are extreme right wingers, it seems.

"The Cox campaign raised more than $200,000, which was $45,000 more than Padilla's war chest. The conservative Lincoln Club of San Diego County independently spent $50,000 on direct mail attacking Padilla."

And that's not counting direct contribution's to Cox's campaign. Cheryl has repaid the favor by endorsing the Lincoln Club's former president, Bob Watkins, for US House of Representatives.

The San Diego Union Tribune quotes Cox as saying of herself and her husband, “We have pretty much lived our lives as an open book."

This is, of course, not true. Cox was as secretive as a board member could be while she was a board member at Chula Vista Elementary School District. She paid Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz and Parham & Rajcic law firms many $100,000s to hide what was going on at CVESD. And who recommended these law firms? Bob Watkins' own San Diego County Office of Education-Joint Powers Authority.

Pamela Smith talks a good game about education being a priority, but her actions don't support that

Did Pamela Smith inadvertantly describe herself in this quote?

Also, the CVESD board went through this same dance about four years ago, and no one lost his job. It's just a tactic that the CVESD board seems to find entertaining.

488 Pinkslips in Chula Vista Schools
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Voice of San Diego

Chula Vista elementary schools plan to notify 488 certificated employees that their jobs could be cut, depending how deep state budget cuts go this year. The school district has estimated cuts at $11 million, cutting from an existing $245 million budget.

The list includes 401 classroom teachers, three counselors, one librarian, 10 nurses, nine associate principals and two human resources directors. A popular program called Reading First could be eliminated entirely under the plan, just after teachers presented positive feedback on the initiative to the school board.

Under California law, schools are required to notify all certificated employees whose jobs might be eliminated by March 15, though budget cuts won't be finalized until this summer. Classified employees such as custodians and bus drivers won't be notified until later in the year.

Chula Vista Elementary trustees approved the pinkslips Wednesday night, but they weren't pleased.

State legislators "talk a good game of education being a priority, but their actions don't support that," said trustee Pamela Smith. Though Chula Vista schools are in decent shape financially, she added, "nobody can be in a position to weather what the state's proposing."

CVESD's bizarre request for new trial is denied

Pat Judd, Pamela Smith, Bertha Lopez, Larry Cunningham and David Bejarano aren't going to get the new trial they asked for in the Coziahr case.

When will CVESD board members return to the real world after their long swim in that river in Egypt?

They simply refuse to believe that the law applies to them. And it's no wonder, since SDCOE-JPA lawyers have worked long and hard to convince them that the law doesn't apply to schools.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Is there hope for the First Amendment?

Is WikiLeaks Judge Having Second Thoughts?
By David Kravets
February 28, 2008

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White issued a document late Thursday suggesting he might have erred last week when he signed an order that took down the WikiLeaks site and also locked "the domain name to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar."

...As fellow THREAT LEVEL scribe Kim Zetter has been reporting, Dynadot -- WikiLeaks' U.S. hosting company and domain registrar based in San Mateo, California -- agreed to take down and lock the site at the behest of Julius Baer Bank and Trust.

Judge White signed the accord without hearing from WikiLeaks -- an accord that broaches a myriad of First Amendment issues.

In a three-page order issued hours ahead of Friday's hearing, White, appointed by the second President Bush, wondered whether last week's order went too far. "Without WikiLeaks making an appearance, was there any more narrowly tailored remedy for protecting private information from stolen documents from the web site beside locking and disabling the web site until such time as the disputed documents were removed or redacted?"

White also asked whether the accord trumps the First Amendment. He demanded responses concerning a 2001 Supreme Court ruling, in which the high court generally found that it was wrong to be "punishing disclosures of lawfully obtained information of public interest by one not involved in the initial illegality."

White wondered whether the bank's remedy is against Rudolf Elmer, the bank's former vice president of its Cayman Islands' operation. The bank claims Elmer stole and leaked the bank's private documents that purport to show the institution assists its clients in hiding assets from the tax man...

It turns out that the City Council gave Aguirre full support for the pension lawsuit

Mike Aguirre was telling the truth all along.

Mike Aguirre has been smeared so badly by Bonnie Dumanis and Ann Smith, that even I was influenced by it. I thought there was a grain of truth to the claim that Aguirre filed the pension suit on his own.

I don't seem to be able to get it through my head, even after so many years of proof, including my own first-hand experience with Bonnie Dumanis and Ann Smith, that the people in charge in San Diego are deeply, incredibly dishonest.

Here's what Pat Flannery wrote about this.

The truth is out: Peters lied.
by Pat Flannery
Click here for original article.

Here is the transcript of the closed session of the City Council on August 2, 2005 that everybody has wanted to read. Here is a press release from the City Attorney today summarizing the relevant events.

Also, here are two relevant Court Declarations, one from Jerry Sanders and the other from Donna Frye. Both clearly confirm the City Attorney's long standing assertion that he was given the enthusiastic support of the City Council and of the Mayor to pursue in court a resolution of the legality or illegality of the disputed pension benefits.

Scott Peters now wants to say that Aguirre did all this on his own without authorization from the City. Of course, we all know why he is doing this: as a shill for the city unions, particularly the MEA.

Peters tried to smear the City Attorney for doing his job. Peters has abused the legal process by filing a false complaint with the State Bar wrongly asserting that Mr. Aguirre was not authorized by his client, the City, to file a cross-complaint in a matter in which the City was sued. In other words Peters tried to ensure that the unions would win by default.

Clearly Scott Peters does not have the best interest of the City at heart, merely his unions backers. His abuse of the State bar disciplinary process for political purposes should be enough to disqualify him from practicing law let alone becoming City Attorney for any city.

Voice of San Diego tells more about the transcript:

The Aguirre Transcripts
February 28 2008

We just got a copy of the closed session transcripts that were sought by State Bar investigators as part of their probe into City Attorney Mike Aguirre, and the documents show that the City Council authorized Aguirre to pursue his pension litigation -- but on the condition it was done in his name only.

In the Aug. 2, 2005 hearing, Council President Scott Peters said he was worried the council would be found to have negotiated in bad faith with the labor unions if it took the public stance that the employee pension benefits at issue in the lawsuit were illegal. However, he said in the meeting, there needed to be a decision regarding whether or not the rounds of benefits granted to employees through controversial deals in 1996 and 2002 were legal.

The hearing began with Executive Assistant City Attorney Don McGrath briefing the council on the lawsuit, which has since been struck down by a judge and is in appeals court.

The suit had originally been filed without the council's approval. That was done, McGrath said, because the council was on recess at the time and the statute of limitations was set to expire.

The City Attorney's Office was seeking the council's formal approval on the suit.

Councilwoman Donna Frye originally proposed a motion to support it, but Peters said he'd prefer that the suit be brought in Aguirre's name to avoid the labor issues. The council eventually approved Peters' idea by a vote of 5-1. Councilman Jim Madaffer voted against the motion, and the District 2 and 8 seats were vacant at the time.

This is the general idea of what had happened before the suit. It may not resolve much.

The issue being made by Aguirre's opponents is this: he later changed the suit to be back in the city's name.

"He's defied the direction of the client by bringing the suit in the name of the city," said Pam Hardy, Peters spokeswoman.

In an interview, McGrath said that the city attorney never needed the council's authorization to bring the suit to begin with. And, later, the judge in the case told him to bring the suit in the city's name, so he did...

Free speech groups oppose WikiLeaks shutdown

Update: Rights groups seek court OK to intervene in Wikileaks case

Shutdown of whistle-blower site violates First Amendment, they say
By Jaikumar Vijayan

from Computerworld
February 28, 2008

A growing number of privacy and civil rights advocates are calling on a federal court to reconsider its decision two weeks ago ordering the controversial whistle-blower Web site to be disabled...

"The First Amendment encompasses the right to receive information and ideas," the groups said in the brief. "The documents and materials posted on the Wikileaks website concern matters of great public interest" that each of the parties filing the motion had regularly accessed, they said.

Expressing similar support was Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society's Citizen Media Law Project (CMLP). Yesterday, the center filed a brief opposing the court's injunctions against Wikileaks and its domain registrar Dynadot LLC...

"Under established First Amendment law, prior restraints, if constitutional at all, are permissible only in the most extraordinary circumstances," David Ardia, director of the CMLP, said in a statement. "In this case, you have court orders that effectively shut down a website that has been at the forefront of exposing corruption in governments and corporations around the world."

Canada's twelfth mad cow--the second in two months

Bad news: Canada has another mad cow
Good news: Trade will not be affected! The US will continue to import mad cows!

from ABC rural news
(City folks may wish to ignore this story)
New mad cow case in Canada

Thursday, 28/02/2008

Canada has confirmed a new case of mad cow disease, in a six-year-old dairy cow from Alberta.

It is the second case in two months and the 12th since the disease was first discovered in Canada in 2003...

The US Department of Agriculture has issued a statement saying the Canadian discovery will not affect trade between the two countries.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Were Poway Unified and San Diego Superior Court out of line in Lindsey Stewart case?

The California Court of Appeal is questioning whether the Poway Unifed School District v. Lindsey Stewart case was handled properly. The question is, can a small debt in a limited case be turned into an unlimited case with a $25,000 warrant for arrest?

Also, Poway Unified School District has stopped selling (for $25) the "winning" brief in this case.

Shame on PUSD for its malicous actions against a parent who was struggling to get appropriate attention for her child.

On August 11, 2005, the California Special Education Hearing Office granted the District's motion for sanctions against Stewart for her failure to notify it and SEHO in a timely manner of her withdrawal of her request for a hearing. SEHO issued an order granting the District $3,091.25 in sanctions and costs.

More about this case can be found at San Diego Education Report Website, Lindsey Stewart.

POWAY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT v. LINDSEY STEWART, No. D048901 (107 LRP 31437 (Cal. Ct. App. 6/06/07)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perjury charge for Roger Clemens?

A jury would be pretty similar to a poll of sports fans, I think.

USA Today
Poll: Majority of fans think Clemens is lying
by Mel Antonen

Despite Roger Clemens' efforts to prove he never used performance-enhancing drugs, the majority of MLB fans still don't believe his testimony.

Clemens could face a Justice Department investigation after denying in Congress he took steroids or human growth hormone, allegations made by his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee.

"The only surprise is that 31% of the fans were duped by Roger Clemens," said Richard Emery, a lawyer for McNamee.

Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, had no comment, and Clemens, who arrived Tuesday in Kissimmee, Fla., so he can pitch to Houston Astros minor leaguers this week, addressed the media briefly.

"Everything's been said that needs to be said," Clemens told reporters. "We're moving forward. It's baseball time."

As a result of the drug-use allegations, Clemens' on-field accomplishments, which include 354 career wins, are suffering, with a higher percentage of fans believing Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame than Clemens. In a phone survey of 456 fans conducted Feb. 21-24, 66% said Rose should be elected to the Hall while 62% said Clemens is deserving. Rose received a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 for betting on games.

The poll showed 55% of fans think Commissioner Bud Selig should not punish players linked in the Mitchell Report to performance-enhancing drugs. Before the report was released on Dec. 13, 37% did not favor discipline. Selig is looking at the names individually, "and will make public his decisions at the appropriate time," spokesman Rich Levin said.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What have we been feeding to school children?

USDA unsure if Calif. cattle case isolated to plant
Fri Feb 22, 2008
by Christopher Doering

Days after the largest meat recall in U.S. history, the head of the Agriculture Department said officials are reviewing why a California plant processed unfit cattle, and that it was too early to determine whether it was an incident specific to the facility.

The USDA announced on Sunday that the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co was recalling 143 million lbs (65 million kilos) of meat, mostly beef, after plant workers were caught on videotape forcing unfit cattle into the slaughterhouse.

"We are reviewing our procedures, how we work with the plant, how our inspectors work, our staffing needs," Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer told reporters at the USDA's annual Outlook Forum. "And until we find out, we can't assess other plants, and we can't say ... this is an isolated incident or an ongoing practice."

Most of the meat, raw and frozen beef products, probably already has been consumed with at least 37 million lbs used for school lunches and other federal nutrition programs, according to USDA. The department has said there was a minor risk of illness from eating the meat.

The recall came three weeks after the Humane Society of the United States released videotapes from an undercover investigation showing Hallmark/Westland workers using a variety of abusive techniques to force sick and injured cattle into the slaughterhouse so they could be processed into food.

Beef from so-called "downer" cattle -- where the animal is too ill or injured to walk -- is usually not allowed in the food supply. The rule was adopted as a safeguard against "mad cow" disease, a deadly, brain-wasting illness.

In this case, the cattle could not stand at the time of slaughter, although they passed inspection earlier. Packers are required to alert USDA veterinarians in those cases so they can decide if the animal can be slaughtered for food...

Insurance Company Settles Antitrust Complaint

Do the SDCOE-JPA, SELF and other public entity insurers have relationships with brokers and lawyers that limit competition?

California's Office of the Attorney General reports:

"The Office of the Attorney General announced in March 2006 that Zurich American Insurance Company will pay some $152 million in restitution and reform its business practices to settle allegations that it unlawfully rigged bids for commercial insurance and made undisclosed payments to brokers for steering clients to Zurich.

"'Zurich participated in schemes with brokers and other insurers that inflicted financial harm on businesses and damaged the marketplace,' the Attorney General said. 'This settlement holds Zurich accountable for its misconduct, compensates clients it harmed, and provides reforms and ongoing enforcement by Attorneys General to help ensure the company does not commit similar abuses in the future.'

"The settlement resolves antitrust and unfair business practices investigations by the California Attorney General and Attorneys General in nine other states.

"The Attorney General in October 2004 launched an investigation into bid rigging and contingent payments in the commercial insurance industry. The broader investigation remains ongoing."
Insurance Company Settles Antitrust Complaint

Leon Page worked a miracle; Diane Crosier responded to my public records request

Dear Ms. Larkins:

You will be receiving a response to your PRA request via US Postal service as well as this e mail response.

At this time some documents will need to be pulled from our storage facility. As such we are requesting a 10 extension to respond to your request.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Diane M. Crosier, Esq.
Executive Director
San Diego and Imperial County Schools
Risk Management JPA and
Fringe Benefits Consortium

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2 Public Records Requests for SDCOE-JPA's Diane Crosier

For years I've been trying to get Diane Crosier at SDCOE-JPA to release information about how much Stutz law firm was paid for my case.

I was inspired by attorney and MiraCosta College hero Leon Page to try again. Page had to go to court before Crosier agreed to turn over documents. I'll probably have to go to court, too, but it will be easy because all I have to do is to go down to the courthouse and look at the Page case file and see how he did it, and then do the same thing.

I apologize to Leon Page for using his words, but Crosier and her attorneys keep telling me that I've used the wrong words.

February 24, 2008

Ms. Diane Crosier
Executive Director
Risk Management Joint Powers Authority
San Diego County Office of Education
6401 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111

Re: Public Records Request

Dear Ms. Crosier:

Pursuant to the California Public Records Act, Government Code § 6250, et seq., please provide me with a copy of the following public records:

1. The claims procedures manual followed by the San Diego County Office of Education Risk Management Joint Powers Authority when processing claims.

2. Any and all documents, including, but not limited to, invoices, account statements, receipts, and billings records, relating to all legal work performed by the law firm Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz on behalf of Chula Vista Elementary School District and its Board of Trustees, between January 1, 2002 and January 1, 2005, relating to tort claims and/or lawsuits filed by Maura Larkins.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Maura Larkins

Saturday, February 23, 2008

WikiLeaks: Why is the US protecting a Cayman Islands Bank instead of protecting freedom of speech?

Christian Science Monitor says closing down WikiLeaks will probably have reverse effect:

The Christian Science Monitor
February 22, 2008
Oakland, Calif.
By Ben Arnoldy

...the Julius Baer Bank sought an injunction against Wikileaks, a website that anonymously publishes whistleblower documents, for posting papers purporting to show money laundering and tax evasion schemes at the bank's Cayman Islands branch. A federal district judge late last week took the unusual step of shutting down the entire site instead of removing just the bank's documents.

What followed was an explosion of interest in the relatively obscure website, with many online activists helping to redirect curious eyes to alternative sites. where the content had been reinstated.

"I think we are seeing the limits of a jurisdiction-based judicial system as it faces a relatively borderless Internet," says David Ardia, director of the Citizen Media Law Project, a Harvard-linked group advocating for free speech.

The court orders are stunningly broad, he says, and suggest a lack of seriousness about the First Amendment...

If this kind of order had been given in the 1971 Pentagon Papers case, says Mr. Ardia, the court would be ordering the Teamsters to park their trucks and permanently refuse to deliver any copies of The New York Times...

Correction regarding Coziahr case

David Bejarano
I made an error when I created my Feb. 17, 2008 post about Chula Vista Elementary School District and David Bejarano. I said that CVESD had decided not to appeal the Coziahr case. I found out how wrong I was on Feb. 21, 2008, and immediately removed the incorrect statements.

When CVESD didn't file an appeal within 60 days of the verdict, I thought it had decided not to appeal, and said so in the Feb. 17, 2008 post. I was wrong. The actual deadline is determined by this rule: "Unlimited Civil appeals are filed within 60 days from the date of mailing of the Notice of Entry of Judgment or if the notice is not
mailed, 180 days from the date of entry of judgment."

I made an incorrect assumption based on my own personal experience in this case. My appeal of a Superior Court decision was rejected as late-filed because I didn't file it within 60 days of the decision. My lawyer, Elizabeth Schulman, wrote me a letter telling me that the deadline was 90 days. So I thought the Danielle Coziahr v. CVESD case had the same deadline.

In my first version of this post, I wrote that David Bejarano seemed to be improving CVESD.

It turns out that the reality is not quite so positive.

Which is not to say that David Bejarano is doing anything particularly wrong. Even if he wanted to change things at CVESD, he only has one vote.

The only honorable thing he could do would be to resign from a corrupt board, and as we all know, Americans are not in the habit of resigning on principle anymore. The days of the decent and honorable US Attorney General Elliot Richardson are long gone. Many current government officials are making Richard Nixon look good. The CVESD board seems to be following the Nixon playbook line for line.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is Patrick Judd once again trying to avoid testifying in a Superior Court case?

Patrick Judd has taken medical leave from his job as superintendent at Mountain Empire School District.

Is the "medical leave" just an excuse to avoid testifying in the Sherbondy trial?

An open letter to Jon Y. Vanderpool, Esq. regarding Patrick Judd and CVESD

Patrick Judd

Patrick Judd is a board member of Chula Vista Elementary School District, which recently lost the Coziahr case; Judd is currently being sued as superintendent of Mountain Empire School District. I asked Sue Sherbondy's attorney Jon Y. Vanderpool to let me know when the trial starts. He didn't answer, and now I know at least part of the reason. Here is my follow-up letter.

Dear Mr. Vanderpool:
I've learned about what is going on in CVESD regarding Pamela Dempsey. Those mulish board members blamed her for losing the Coziahr case, and fired her. They should have fired Lowell Billings, Tom Cruz, and Alex Cortes.

Since Patrick Judd is the most powerful member of the CVESD board, I assume he also fired Dempsey as his lawyer in the Sherbondy case, in which he is being sued as superintendent of Mountain Empire School District. If I'm right about this, I imagine the court will give the new lawyer a good deal of time to get ready.

Judd and the rest of the board apparently expected Dempsey to behave like Mark Bresee, the former Chula Vista Elementary School District lawyer who helped employees as they committed perjury, prepared "notes" about events that had occurred long before, and altered documents.

The fact that these things were not done in the Danielle Coziahr case is a testament to the growing decency of Tom Cruz and Pamela Dempsey. At least, I'd like to think so.

Apparently CVESD is asking for a new trial. Perhaps Patrick Judd, Larry Cunningham, Pamela Smith, Bertha Lopez and David Bejarano are hoping that a new lawyer will be as helpful as Mark Bresee, and lots of "new" evidence will appear. And perhaps the new lawyer will intimidate witnesses, and there will no longer be any to support Danielle.

Ah, such thoughts must give much pleasure to a daydreaming CVESD board member. But reality interferes, doesn't it? What judge in his right mind would give them a new trial?

As a longtime lawyer for California Teachers Association, you're in a bit of a pickle in the Sherbondy case. The more you attack Mr. Judd, the more you weaken a longtime co-conspirator of CTA. (CTA and CVESD relied on each other not to tell the truth in my case.) But I would be SHOCKED, SHOCKED if you undermined a client to keep on the good side of CTA. You're no Elizabeth Schulman, after all. Or are you?

Say hello to your associate Ann Smith for me. She also helped out Pat Judd in the Larkins case.

Maura Larkins

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Judy Stratton and Jaqueline Simon are right--meetings are a waste of time if you don't talk about important issues

Judy Stratton

PHILIP K. IRELAND writes in the North County Times:

"MiraCosta College Trustees voted 5-2 to hire the Center for Dispute Resolution for $16,000 to help trustees resolve their disputes.

""Two members of the board -- Judy Strattan and Jaqueline Simon -- voted against the expenditure. Both trustees said they opposed spending more money on dispute resolution until the other board members agree to talk about the problems that led to the divide.

"'I am unlikely to change as long as we continue to do workshops, (but) never get to the issues that caused the split,' Strattan said. "Workshops have not made a difference with this board.'"

Jaqueline Simon

Court Shuts Down Whistleblower Site published the following article about WikiLeaks:

Court Shuts Down Whistleblower Site
Feb 20th 2008

by Tim Stevens

Click HERE for complete article.

"Nobody likes a snitch, but the whistleblower, someone who exposes corruption, is often held in quite high regard. There's a fine line between the two types of tattletales, but most everyone is almost always happy to see shady and illegal back room dealings exposed.

"Everyone, it seems, except the American courts. The U.S. Supreme Court made exposing misdeeds a little more dangerous last year when it ruled that whistleblowing employees had no protection against retaliation from employers. Now, a California District Court judge has ordered the online anonymous whistleblowing site,, to shut down...

"Last week's ruling from the California judge is in response to a lawsuit by the Julius Baer Group, a Swiss bank that was alleged to be involved in money laundering. The allegations were backed up by documents posted -- illegally, according to the bank -- to Wikileaks. The judge ruled that the domain name could no longer be renewed or resolved..."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Dumanis wants the Axis of Good to control San Diego, but the city needs Mike Aguirre

The Axis of Good:

D.A. Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego Sheriff Bill Kolender
and Mayor Jerry Sanders

The California State Bar allows attorneys to violate ethical rules
right and left, and bears the bulk of the responsibility for our
malfunctioning justice system. The Bar is investigating Aguirre
because Bonnie Dumanis and her friends are on the board of the Bar
Association. The bar should be investigating Bonnie Dumanis. Aguirre
has worked to open up government and end government secrecy and
complacency. The pension fiasco should have been a learning
experience, but the powers-that-be want to forget about it, and keep
the same secretive practices that led to San Diego's billion-dollar
deficit. If a person has to be crazy to challenge the status quo, then
that's exactly the kind of person San Diego needs as City Attorney.

Judge shuts down then backs off

Judge orders WikiLeaks offline, then backs off
by Richard Koman
ZD Net, Where Technology Meets Business
February 19, 2008

The site is offline today, following a series of orders from a US District Court in San Francisco. WikiLeaks had posted numerous documents “allegedly reveal secret Julius Baer trust structures used for asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion.” (WikiLeaks press release, Feb. 18, 2008.))

...In a somewhat confusing flurry of orders, the court first ordered operator Dynadot LLC to “immediately disable the domain name and account to prevent access to and any changes from being made to the domain name and account information, until further order of this Court.” (Order Granting Permanent Injunction, Feb. 15, 2008.))

...But hours later the court amended the order, removing the requirement to disable the entire WikiLeaks domain but ordering that all JB documents be removed from all servers. This new order is a temporary restraining order, where the first order was a permanent injunction. Both orders were issued after an ex parte hearing, to which WikiLeaks says it received only hours notice.

It seems that WikiLeaks lawyers were able to convince the judge that something was amiss here, because the second order, a TRO, provides WikiLeaks an opportunity to answer (by Feb. 20) and JB to respond to that answer (by Feb. 26.) One question is whether JB lied about there being a stipulation for WikiLeaks to go offline, since WL compained so vociferously about it and the order was so quickly amended.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Is David Bejarano improving CVESD?

I made a big error when I created this post on Feb. 17, 2008. I found out how wrong I was on Feb. 21, 2008, and immediately removed the incorrect statements.

I made an incorrect assumption based on my own personal experience in this case. My appeal of a Superior Court decision was rejected as late-filed because I didn't file it within 60 days of the decision. My lawyer, Elizabeth Schulman, wrote me a letter telling me that the deadline was 90 days.

So I thought the Danielle Coziahr v. CVESD case had the same deadline. When CVESD didn't file an appeal within 60 days of the verdict, I thought it had decided not to appeal, and said so on this post. I was wrong. I apologize. The actual deadline is determined by this rule: "Unlimited Civil appeals are filed within 60 days from the date of mailing of the Notice of Entry of Judgment or if the notice is not
mailed, 180 days from the date of entry of judgment."

In my first version of this post, I wrote that the answer to the title question (Is David Bejarano improving CVESD?) was "yes."

It turns out that the true answer is not quite so positive.

Which is not to say that David Bejarano is doing anything particularly wrong. Even if he wanted to change things at CVESD, he only has one vote.

The only honorable thing he could do would be to resign from a corrupt board, and as we all know, Americans are not in the habit of resigning on principle anymore. The days of the decent and honorable US Attorney General Elliot Richardson are long gone. Many current government officials are making Richard Nixon look good. The CVESD board seems to be following the Nixon playbook line for line.

-Posted by Maura Larkins on Feb. 22, 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

What was George Herbert Walker Bush's nickname as a navy pilot?

Listening to "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" on KPBS radio just now, I learned the nickname given to the first President Bush when he was a navy pilot.

Instead of "Iceman" or "Maverick," Bush's buddies gave him the affectionate moniker "George Herbert Walker Bush."

According to KPBS, this is actually true.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The board majority damaged MiraCosta College

From the North County Times

February 12, 2008

We are being poorly served

By: LEON P. BARADAT - Commentary:

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has just issued a warning to MiraCosta, long lauded nationally as a model community college, for breaches of leadership and governance. Unless remedied, these infractions can cost the college its accreditation. Without accreditation, students cannot transfer their credits to universities and are denied government loans or scholarships.

Not many years ago, John Petersen, then Accrediting Commission executive director, volunteered that he saw MiraCosta College as among the very best in the state. He also asserted a good college can be improved only marginally by an excellent president, but a bad president could quickly ruin a good one. How, then, did MiraCosta fall from such a lofty station to seeing its accreditation jeopardized?

MiraCosta's precipitous descent is attributable mainly to two entities: the Board of Trustees and the local editorial pages.

The four members of the MiraCosta board's perpetual majority (Carolyn Batiste, Charles Adams, Rudy Fernandez, and Greg Post) deny responsibility for current problems, foisting blame on the board minority (Gloria Carranza, Jacqueline Simon and Judy Strattan). While both factions have made mistakes, to be sure, the majority's actions have clearly ruined MiraCosta's reputation and status. After all, they are the majority; it's their policies that have been implemented.

From refusing to tell the public truthfully about their shabby treatment of loyal, dedicated employees, to arrogantly refusing to admit when they were wrong, to abandoning the long-established culture of consultation with faculty and staff ---- these trustees have violated MiraCosta's once vaunted culture of collegiality and the public's expectation of good government.

The North County Times also has some responsibility for this sad affair. Although reporters Philip Ireland and David Garrick were quick to assess the situation at MiraCosta, the NCT editorial board apparently has not digested their articles. The editors seem stuck in a 1950s time warp, refusing to seek the truth.

With scant contradiction, the NCT has repeatedly given voice to its own uninformed editorial writers and to irresponsible community gas bags, each of whom has badly distorted the truth. Indeed, during the past two-and-a-half years of controversy, which has seen numerous innocent MiraCostans sacrificed, I have read only a tiny number of commentators in the NCT who appeared knowledgeable about the unfolding crisis.

The MiraCosta board majority and the North County Times have served the people badly in this tragedy and owe each of us an apology and an immediate change of course.

-- Leon P. Baradat was a professor of political science at MiraCosta College between 1970 and 2003 and a member of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges between 1992-2000. He lives in Oceanside.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Carolyn Batiste of MiraCosta College wants to "put away," not "dig up" the past; This is a recipe for repeated disaster

Carolyn Batiste is smart enough to know that history repeats itself if nothing is done to change basic structures. Batiste worked closely with corrupt lawyers, and helped to cause the problems that caused MiraCosta College to hemmorhage money and morality the past several years.

But she doesn't want to examine her mistakes. Neither do MiraCosta's insurance companies and their lawyers, who make a lot of money when things go wrong.

If crimes were committed by the college, such as extortion against Julie Hatoff, then it seems that Carolyn Batiste is trying to cover them up.

Get rid of Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz, Ms. Batiste. Insist that Diane Crosier at SDCOE-JPA provide the college with ethical lawyers. If Crosier won't do that, then you should go elsewhere for liability insurance.

This is what North County Times write Philip K. Ireland wrote yesterday:

Hendrickson said two recent workshop meetings have targeted the issue of board cooperation: a January retreat that focused on state open meeting laws, and a meeting last Tuesday to help board members understand the college's cycle of planning and budgeting. However, during both meetings, trustees blamed one another for the last two years of turmoil, underscoring the continuing deep divide.

Board President Carolyn Batiste acknowledged the problem but said the board needs to keep moving forward.

"I thought (the commission report was) right to the point and reminded us once again that we must put away the things that have mired us down," Batiste said.

She said that she and Hendrickson will meet with the leaders of key campus groups to hear their concerns.

However, Batiste said she would resist efforts by minority board members and employees to "dig up the past," referring to the turmoil of the last two years.

"Discussing actions that have already taken place (does) not allow the momentum to get us where we need to be," Batiste said. "There is no going back."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Richart must testify!

Philip K. Ireland of The North County Times wrote yesterday:

"Former MiraCosta College President Victoria Munoz Richart must testify under oath about her $1.6 million settlement agreement reached last summer in a closed-door meeting with college trustees, a Superior Court judge has ruled....

"In seeking the settlement, an attorney for Richart argued that her reputation was damaged when three trustees publically criticized her handling of an investigation into the illegal sale of palm trees from the campus's horticulture department.

"Page's attorney said the college should have challenged that notion.

"'When Richart made her claim, (college attorneys) should have investigated and defended (the college against) that claim in a zealous way,' Cozad said.

"'As we are doing now, they should have taken her deposition asking, "What did we do wrong? How were you damaged?" and "How did you calculate those damages?"'"

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

MiraCosta trustee Gloria Carranza skewers cover-up at MiraCosta College

"These (legal) contracts can be avoided if we just tell the truth...The public perception is that we have all these attorneys to get in the way of the truth."
--Gloria Carranza, MiraCosta College Trustee, at yesterday's board meeting

North County Times staff writer Philip K. Ireland writes:

Click HERE for original article.

"...The college is paying three law firms to fight the [Leon Page] suit and deal with the district attorney investigation.

"One firm, McKenna, Long and Aldridge, has been providing documents and information requested by Page and by the district attorney's office. The college has spent more than $75,000 to provide documents to the district attorney and to Page, said Jim Austin, the college's vice president of business and administrative services. The board on Tuesday approved a new limit of $125,000.

"Law firm Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff and Holtz has been representing the college for years. Until now, a consortium of county school districts called the Joint Powers Authority had been paying the firm's fees in connection with the Page lawsuit. The authority has now reached its $10,000 limit, and the college must begin paying the bills. Trustees approved up to $25,000 to fight Page's lawsuit.

"Trustees also approved a third allocation of no more than $25,000 to pay the law firm Winet, Patrick and Weaver. When Richart threatened to sue the college late last spring, the Joint Powers Authority hired attorney Randy Winet to represent her interests against the district..."

Monday, February 04, 2008

Federal judge says George Bush must obey even though he disagrees

Judge Reinstates Rules on Sonar, Criticizing Bush’s Waiver for Navy

Click HERE for original article.

Published: February 5, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Monday reinstated a series of provisions meant to protect whales from high-powered sonar during military exercises in the Pacific Ocean.

The decision was a rebuke to an effort by the Bush administration to exempt the Navy from those rules and from federal law.

The decision, by Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of Federal District Court, found that the administration’s Council on Environmental Quality had overreached on Jan. 15 when it cited “urgent national security reasons” to approve weaker rules for the exercises.

In early January, Judge Cooper issued an injunction on naval exercises in the Pacific, requiring a series of mitigation efforts including shipboard and aerial monitors to watch for whales and a mandatory shutdown of midfrequency sonar whenever whales were spotted within 2,200 yards of ships.

But the council’s move coincided with the president’s waiver exempting the Navy from the Coastal Zone Management Act, which environmental groups had used as a legal basis for their arguments against the Navy’s use of midfrequency sonar. The groups say the sonar can injure, disorient and even kill certain species of whales. The Navy then appealed Judge Cooper’s injunction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which sent the case back to the district court.

On Monday, however, Judge Cooper rejected the administration’s arguments and raised serious questions on the constitutionality of the president’s waiver.

“We disagree with the judge’s decision,” The Associated Press quoted Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, as saying.

Joel Reynolds, a senior lawyer and head of marine mammal protection for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the judge’s decision was welcome news.

Tribes with casinos need to share with tribes who don't have them

I'm voting "no" on the four California gaming expansion propositions. Until the rich tribes start sharing with the poor tribes, they don't deserve these bonanzas.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

School districts stand up to government policies on beef safety

When the Bush administration made it illegal for slaughterhouses to test all cows for mad cow disease, I thought the American people would be outraged. How could the government justify forbidding citizens to test their food before they eat it?

It turned out that hardly anybody cared.

Until now.

The Bush administration says that if a cow can stand up, it's good enough for human consumption.

So all a slaughterhouse has to do to make the difference between a no-profit sick cow and a government-approved healthy cow is to prod it, shock it, or apply some other stimulus to force the cow to make an effort to get up.

Hallmark Meatpacking Company in San Bernardino got caught on videotape using these tricks.

Dozens of school districts stopped buying their beef, making schools a big player in the beef safety controversy.

According to the FDA, it's unlikely that cows who are standing have mad cow disease, while "downer" cows could very well have the disease. Apparently, the government thinks that cows develop terminal symptoms immediately after ingesting prions. Scientists think it takes many years, and infected cows appear healthy during the incubation period.

Cheeseburger, anyone?

Friday, February 01, 2008

MiraCosta board pays more money to hide the truth about the $3 million palmgate investigation

Judge Moon and Daniel Shinoff thought they had closed the Victoria Richart case when they handed over the last $1.6 million of a total of over $3 million taxpayer dollars spent on the Richart/Shinoff investigation of $305 of stolen palm trees.

But attorney Leon Page sued to find out if public money was given away improperly. So why doesn't the board majority simply reveal the truth about the deal? You don't need to pay a lawyer to do that. Oh, right. Because the deal WAS made improperly. The majority that was in cahoots with Richart doesn't want the public to know that they paid her $1.6 million to keep quiet about the board's role in the $1.5 million Richart/Shinoff palm tree investigation.

I think it's a good idea to find out what went wrong. I'm glad Leon Page sued. It's worth a few more public dollars to discover HOW $3 million was misspent by a public entity. Meanwhile, the board majority should either agree to testify in the Leon Page case, or they should resign--or both. It's likely that they will have to resign if and when the truth comes out.

A concerned citizen forwarded this email to me:

From: Leon Page
Date: Jan 31, 2008


Perhaps some of you have watched the movie "Fight Club" starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. I love this movie.

There's a scene in the movie where the narrator, played by Norton, fakes a fist-fight with his boss. Norton rolls around on the floor of his supervisor's office, breaking glass tables, knocking down bookcases, kicking over chairs -- all on his own -- fighting with himself, while his boss stands there, in stunned bewilderment.

When co-workers come into the office to find out the source of the commotion, Norton's character is curled up on the floor, in front of the bewildered supervisor, pleading that the supervisor not hit him "anymore."

Of course, the whole scene was faked; the supervisor hadn't done anything at all. He was as completely mystified and was as completely innocent as the co-workers who burst in on them.

Norton's character subsequently threatens some sort of claim against the employer, and, in the next scene of the movie, we see Norton leaving his job with a smile on his face, a spring in his step, and with a shopping cart filled with various office supplies -- a computer, telephone, monitor, keyboard, etc.

Referencing the payout he gets from the company (undoubtedly in exchange for his promise not to sue on the phony claim), Norton's character says: "Telephone, computer, fax machine, 52 weekly paychecks, and 48 airline flight coupons....WE

The idea was that Norton, through an entirely phony claim, had frightened his employer into providing him with "corporate sponsorship" that would underwrite his subsequent activities.

That line -- "We now had corporate sponsorship" came to mind when I reviewed next week's agenda for the MiraCosta Board of Trustees.

Apparently, next Tuesday, the Board of Trustees will be taking action on a number of items relating to my lawsuit against the College.

In addition to spending more money on WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE COUNSEL -- see action item no. 1 -- the College administration will also be voting on a proposal to require you, me, and the rest of the taxpayers to PAY FOR RICHART'S LEGAL DEFENSE IN MY TAXPAYER LAWSUIT.

Of course, Richart and the College were (and still are) adverse parties. Richart -- they tell us -- allegedly threatened to sue the College for "millions of dollars," apparently because of those unspecified "hostile comments" in local press reports.

Let's take another step back: I am now suing Richart on a single claim of unjust enrichment. That's it. If I win -- if I prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Richart was, in fact, "unjustly enriched" by the illegal settlement agreement because she, in fact, had no valid claims against the college to begin with --she'll have to return as much as $1.3 million to the College in restitution for her "ill-gotten gains."

So now, at next Tuesday's meeting, the College
> administration will be recommending that the
> Board of Trustees (meaning: the public) cover
> Richart's future legal bills in my lawsuit
> against her. In other words, the College
> administration wants us -- the public -- to
> underwrite Richart's legal defense so that she
> can then fight to keep the $1.6 million goodie
> bag that she took from the public as her parting
> gift.
> (Of course, the clause in the settlement
> agreement that calls for this particular
> indemnification benefit was not permitted under
> the terms of Richart's 2006 Employment Agreement.
> Nor is it allowed under Gov. Code Sections
> 53260, 53261. As such, it would be in my view
> yet another illegal gift of the public's money.)
> Anyway, the College administration apparently
> thinks that the College should now help Richart
> prove that she was, in fact, harmed by the
> College.
> "We've now got corporate sponsorship!!!"
> Only it's not some corporation paying the legal
> bills. It's sponsorship by you, me, and the rest
> of the taxpaying public so that Dr. Richart can
> battle in court to retain her $1.6 million bag of
> taxpayer booty...

ONE FINAL POINT: A reminder. Our hearing on our Motion to Compel Richart's deposition will be held tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in Judge Nugent's courtroom at the Vista Courthouse. You have a First Amendment right to attend, should you so choose.